Morpheus on… The Career Pyramid

When we are young, we are all told how Promotion will be an important part of our careers, giving us increased status and MONEY. However, we are NOT told the MAIN reason we will need it – which is to give us the CHANGE in our duties that will enable us to avoid a BREAKDOWN.

For the full story on THAT, go to – then come back HERE, okay?

So, bearing all of THAT in mind, what is the secret of SIDE-STEPPING the ordeal?

The thing is, basically ALL companies and organisations are structured as Pyramids and while Robert Morse managed to make climbing from the bottom to the top look easy in the stage and film musical, “How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying” – the reality is a bit more daunting.

In the first place, with most companies and organisations, there is a distinct SPLIT in those pyramids, about half-way up. Like in the military, the top is filled with officers – while the bottom is occupied by “other ranks”.

Which means if you join as a Private – you will NOT end up as the Field Marshall. At best, you may rise to be a non-commissioned officer (like a Sergeant Major).

To end up as brass, you have to JOIN as brass (like an Officer Cadet).

And the same is true in the commercial sector. J Pierrepont Finch may have risen from Window Cleaner to Chairman Of The Board (and possibly on to POTUS) in HTSIBWRT – but in the real World, the COTB would have started no lower than middle management.

But to get ANY promotion, people are faced with that damned PYRAMID – which by dint of simple NUMBERS, guarantees MOST people remain where they ARE.

Let us go back to the blasted military: a Corporal will generally control around ten Privates – a Sergeant, about three Corporals – and a Sergeant Major, maybe five to ten Sergeants. Thus it can be seen immediately that any grunt seeking SM stripes will have to pass HUNDREDS of his peers to acquire them.

And it is the same all over; lots of Indians – far fewer Chiefs.

All of which means that to avoid that MELTDOWN after a decade or so, if you cannot go UP – you need to get OUT.

But how does a burned-out, un-promoted worker achieve a radical CHANGE in their career? If they are only experienced in one thing – they are only worth money DOING it. Plus no employer wants a MATURE person in a trainee job. They want an eager YOUNGSTER.

The fact is, given those NUMBERS – the MAJORITY of any nation’s workforce these days are SCREWED. Apart from the TINY percentage that are lucky enough to climb The Ladder – the rest either face a monumental spirit-busting CRACK-UP …or acute POVERTY (those financial wizards who just walk away – and become pig farmers).

However, there IS an ANSWER. And back in the Seventies, VOLVO came UP with it.

In those days, Ford, GM and the like would put their workers on The Line – doing the same TINY job over and over and over and… until they fell apart. Then they would transfer them to lower-earning piecework.

But Volvo – who made cars up to a quality, rather than down to a price – spent a little MONEY, training their workers to do LOTS of jobs. Then they would MOVE THEM AROUND regularly. This constant changing of jobs meant that said workers received the Change that Is As Good As A Rest.

The result was WAY less stressed-out workers – and better-made cars.

And THAT is the ONLY way to prevent WORK from becoming a RAT-RACE. Some day, automation will replace it and people will finally be able to ENJOY LIFE. But until then, employers need to DO something – like what Volvo did.

If not, things will get a whole lot WORSE, before they get any better.


One response to this post.

  1. Posted by cyrusquick on November 3, 2014 at 3:53 pm

    “Some day, automation will replace [jobs] and people will finally be able to ENJOY LIFE.”

    Excellent point! And excellent piece! I never knew about the brilliant Volvo move around policy.

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